To put it bluntly, the Oscars were crazy. If you haven’t seen last night’s award show for yourself, you’ve probably been on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or some other social media outlet to feast your eyes upon the slew of memes and headlines the show inspired.
To begin the night, Jimmy Kimmel turned his opening monologue into a roast of Matt Damon. His longtime “rivalry” with the “Bourne” actor—which stems from a fake feud started on “Jimmy Kimmel Live”— took center stage, quite literally, when Kimmel slammed Damon’s failed film “The Great Wall,” but also backhandedly praised his selfless decision to put accused sexual harasser/actor Casey Affleck in the starring role of his newest film, “Manchester by the Sea.” He also made a jab at two frontrunners, “La La Land” and “Hidden Figures,” by noting that 2017 was an amazing year for movies, and that “black people saved NASA and white people saved jazz,” giving voice to a frequent criticism of “La La Land,” which infamously follows a white man as he attempts to revive jazz, a historically black form of music. Throughout the night, Kimmel dug himself deeper into a hole of strange and groan-worthy jokes, including a dig at OJ Simpson that received only a few weak laughs.
Later in the night, Kimmel attempted to follow up Ellen DeGeneres’ pizza bit from the 2014 Oscars (she had a pie delivered to the crowd during the big show) and had candy fall from the ceiling in little bags. For a room full of wealthy celebrities, the crowd seemed oddly enthralled at the idea of free candy. Pharrell, in particular, received his bag with a smile. Because Pharrell Williams really needed to save a few dollars tonight.
Perhaps one of the most laughable moments of the show was the infamous “Suicide Squad” win for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. Although the film was disjointed and critically bashed, the win was for makeup and not the quality of the film itself. Still, the award announcement sent Twitter into a frenzy, and bolstered confidence for some; @prozdkp tweeted “If ‘Suicide Squad’ can win an Oscar, you can do anything.” The shock also led viewers to mourn the films “Suicide Squad” now has more Oscars than, particularly the “Harry Potter” films and groundbreaking movies such as “The Shawshank Redemption.”
On a more positive note, Anousheh Ansari took to the stage to bring issues with President Trump’s policies to light in a more serious matter than one of Kimmel’s eye-roll-worthy one-liners. She accepted the award for Best Foreign Language Film, “The Salesmen,” on behalf of the film’s director Asghar Farhadi, who stayed home in Iran in protest of the injustice of Trump’s travel ban.
Another highlight that took over the Oscars was Kimmel’s inclusion of a tour bus of pop-culture outsiders that included Vicky and Gary, a couple from Chicago, who reportedly were unaware of their part in the award show. Gary, however, was impressed by the front row of stars, giving Nicole Kidman a kiss on the hand and Ryan Reynolds a hello. He also made a point of admitting that he was, as Kimmel pointed out, ignoring the white celebrities in the crowd. Denzel Washington, Vicki’s favorite actor, jokingly officiated the couple’s wedding. The stint was original, but seemed like more of an ego-booster for the celebrities and a subtle mocking of the bus riders, since most of the segment consisted of ordinary people being urged to participate in a televised meet and greet with prolific actors.
Of course, in an M. Night Shyamalan-like setup, the big twist came at the end. In a humiliating accident, presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced “La La Land” as the Best Picture winner. After the cast and crew came onstage to accept their five thousandth (give or take a few) award for the film, producer Jordan Horowitz, who was giving the speech, realized that the card he was holding was wrong, and Beatty announced to the audience that “Moonlight” was the true winner, having apparently read the card from Emma Stone’s win for Best Actress in “La La Land” instead. What is now being dubbed the “most embarrassing moment tin TV history” from numerous news sources worked out in “Moonlight”’s favor. The film that chronicles the life of a gay boy in a drug-ridden neighborhood is a profound, meaningful story that deservingly won over an already highly decorated film of lesser cultural significance. After previous years of Oscars controversy over race (the show has historically praised white actors and films and left people of color in the shadows), it is time that a timely piece like “Moonlight” was put in the spotlight, even after some on-screen complications. And, of course, the mishap’s title of “most embarrassing moment” will inevitably fade into the old news category along with Steve Harvey’s Miss Universe blunder and Kanye’s “I’m gonna let you finish” interjection, while “Moonlight”‘s relevance will likely remain timeless.
The Oscars were full of weak jokes, attacks on Matt Damon’s questionably successful career, and enough anti-Trump jokes to have Tomi Lahren’s head spinning (stay tuned for an upcoming anti-Hollywood rant on “The Blaze”). There were, of course, highlights such as Viola Davis’ powerful speech, Kimmel’s awkward reenaction of “The Lion King” with “Lion” star Sunny Pawar, and Dakota Johnson’s gown that may or may not have been stolen from the Victorian exhibit at the Met.
The show was undoubtedly one for the books, and next year will hopefully bring a new round of diverse and significant films to the stage. And, in case you missed it, Meryl Streep ate a well-deserved pack of Junior Mints during a commercial break for which she will probably be nominated for Best Supporting Actress next year. She’s doing just fine, Trump.